Kennewick asked to shift property density

Tri-City HeraldMay 27, 2014 

Developer Jose Chavallo is trying for the third time to get the city of Kennewick to change the allowed density on property near Lawrence Scott Park.

The request from Chavallo, Bateman Family Properties and Wendell Bateman to shift 10 acres from low-density residential to high-density residential is the only privately requested comprehensive plan amendment that the city will consider this year, the Kennewick City Council was told Tuesday.

The property is on the southeast corner of North Kellogg and North Lincoln streets and West Quinalt Avenue, near the Port of Kennewick’s Vista Field Airport.

Chavallo visited the Port of Kennewick meeting earlier Tuesday to bring the application to the attention of port commissioners, who are planning the redevelopment of the former Vista Field Airport after closing the airport Dec. 31.

He supports the vision the port has for Vista Field and wants to offer a place where Tri-Citians can live near Vista Field, which once developed, would offer places to work and play, he said.

Chavallo does not have a specific plan, but wants to create something that will complement the port’s plans for Vista Field, he said.

Anthony Muai, Kennewick’s city planner, said there isn’t a specific housing project proposed at this point. High-density residential would allow other uses such as day cares, and not just housing.

Any development could provide a buffer between lower-density residential properties nearby with other, higher-density uses, Muai said. It’s on a major city street.

In 2012, Chavallo proposed building quality housing for disabled veterans on the 10 acres. But the city council denied his request and sent it back to the city planning commission to consider a change to medium-density residential. Chavallo withdrew the request.

Nearby residents opposed the change to high density. Chavallo said at the time he did not intend to build out the full 270 units that high-density residential would allow. The city planning commission had recommended approval.

In other business Tuesday, public works director Cary Roe told the city council that property owners for 18 of the 38 properties along Kennewick Avenue have repaired the sidewalks.

Kennewick officials recently acknowledged that they mishandled attempts to get some homeowners along Kennewick Avenue to repair sidewalks that had become a tripping hazard. Some of the homes are among the city’s oldest.

Roe has reached out to all of the property owners and held a meeting attended by five property owners, he said. Those who attended the meeting were provided with a no-cost building permit for the work on their property, recommendations for repair specific to their property and a list of contractors. Some sidewalks needed to be ground down to create a level surface, while others needed entire panels replaced.

The city is committed to reimbursing property owners for 25 percent of the cost and has sent out information on getting reimbursement to all the affected property owners, Roe said.

Another five or so properties have permits for the repair, Roe said. All the property owners are being asked to complete the work by June 30.

After that, the city likely will get a contractor to finish the work and then seek reimbursement from those property owners through a collections process, he said.

-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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